Whitecraigs 15 – Hamilton 41
Bulls Raise the Temperature in BT Nat 2
Hamilton Bulls visited Whitecraigs on Friday night for a match twice rescheduled because of bad weather. The Game in hand match was played in freezing temperatures, but a much changed Hamilton side soon raised the temperature with the power and accuracy of their attacking play, and fierce tackling in defence. Hamilton were without several regulars, the match having been rescheduled by the SRU to this international weekend, despite several players having booked the trip to Wales to support the National team. Nonetheless the team knitted together immediately, showing the value of the 2nd XV playing in National reserve league 1, where they are used to playing at such a high level.
It took Hamilton 9 minutes to register the first score but it was a well worked affair, where the forwards played a sequence of accurate phases punching deep into the Whitecraigs 22. Good decision making and an accurate crossfield kick to the corner allowed Ross Inglis
to collect and cross the whitewash. He converted his own try. However, to the frustration of the coaching team, Hamilton were careless at the kick off and their clearing kick was charged down allowing flanker Mackie to narrow the leeway to 7 – 5.
Hamilton played with a clear plan taking the ball to Whitecraigs through the forwards, and building patient phases. They were rewarded with Inglis second successful kick on 18 minutes. He almost repeated the feat 4 minutes later, but his penalty drifted just wide. Whitecriags were able to clear their lines having been awarded a series of penalties which and the supporters scratching their heads. Nonetheless it was Hamilton who continued to threaten and Ben Plant
was unlucky when he scampered down the line, but was adjudged to have put a foot in touch. With 5 minutes of the half remaining Whitecraigs spurned the chance to narrow the leeway when Snyman missed a fairly simple penalty shot. Hamilton Hit back immediately by varying their tactics and fast handling, especially by McGrath released the flying Ben Plant
who cut a beautiful line to elude the defence and run in from 50 metres, for a try converted by Inglis. On the stroke of half time the same slick handling released flanker Gregor Brodie
who dived over in the left corner. Half time 5 – 22.
Hamilton started the second half with the same intensity and it was Ross Inglis
with his second of the night who moved the score on to 27 with the Bonus Point try. Although Whitecraigs came into the game at this stage, Hamilton’s defence was ferocious and they soon worked their way back into the Whitecraigs 22. It was over to the forwards whose pick and go game saw Josh White
power his way over close to the sticks for converted try on 56 minutes.
However the last 15 minutes was spoiled as a contest when Whitecraigs front row suffered injuries to key personnel resulting in uncontested scrums. Hamilton got another 7 point counter when James Howatson
, whose powerful running had been a problem to Whitecraigs all night was finally rewarded. Hamilton’s intensity dropped in the last 10 minutes and Whitecraigs were able to force to unconverted tries. However, coach Gemmell was delighted with the way his young charges stepped up, and played to the game plan with accuracy and pace. The win helps Hamilton to close in on the promotion race and next week’s visit of Biggar now becomes a crucial date on the calendar. A vocal support would be welcomed by the team on 10th Feb.